"The draft plan is based on sound planning principles, is sensitive to the rights of individual property owners while it supports policies that protect and project the good of the whole community."
Horizon 2020 is the proposed comprehensive land use plan for the city of Lawrence and the unincorporated portions of Douglas County. It describes how we want our community to look, feel and function until the year 2020, and will serve as a policy guide to assist us with planning and growth decisions for the next 25 years.
Horizon 2020 will replace both Plan '95, which has governed land use decisions for the city of Lawrence since 1977, and the Douglas County Guide Plan, which has governed land use in the rural areas of Douglas County since 1980.
The Horizon 2020 Draft Plan was submitted by the Horizon 2020 Steering Committee to the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission on Friday. Next, the planning commission will conduct public hearings on the draft document, make any needed changes, adopt the plan and send it to both the Lawrence City Commission and the Douglas County Commission with its recommendation for approval and adoption.
The draft plan is based on more than four years of work and involved close to 1,500 members of our community. First, we took inventory of existing conditions. Volumes of data were collected and reviewed, which included census data, demographic information, transportation data and information on land use, public services and community facilities. Next, issues and concerns were identified, and goals and objectives were formulated. The proposed plan was written by the consultants and staff; the steering committee members have spent more than six months reviewing the document and making changes they felt were needed.
Horizon 2020 is a long-range land use plan that focuses on the physical development and maintenance of the community. Also included in the plan is a countywide strategic economic development component. The elements addressed in the plan are land use, growth management, transportation, community facilities, historic resources and economic development. Each element describes existing conditions and contains statements of our goals and objectives, describes future needs as seen now, and contains proposals (or policies) of how those needs will be met.
The plan is used by property owners to identify where and how development should occur; by residents to understand what the city and county anticipate for future land uses within the community, and by city, county and other public agencies to plan for future improvements to serve the growing population of the community. The plan will be used as a tool to assist the decision-makers in evaluating the appropriateness of land development proposals and to determine if individual proposals are consistent with the goals of the community.
Early on in the process, the steering committee adopted the following mission statement:
"Horizon 2020 is the citizen-drive process of creating a plan that will provide policy and strategic direction to guide Lawrence and Douglas County to the year 2020."
The Horizon 2020 Draft Plan has been a citizen-driven process. The draft plan is based on sound planning principles, is sensitive to the rights of individual property owners while it supports policies that protect and project the good of the whole community. I look forward to hearing what the community thinks about the document during the upcoming public hearings, which will be held by the planning commission.
-- Jean Milstead is chair of the Horizon 2020 Steering Committee, a member of the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission and senior vice president of Douglas County Bank.
Included in Horizon 2020, as reviewed by Jean Milstead, chair of the plan's steering committee:
Planned and Managed Growth. "Douglas County will experience growth. We will remain a separate and identifiable community, and face the challenge of encouraging growth in a planned and responsible manner. "
Diversity. "We will strive to increase the diversity of employment, housing, cultural, economic and educational opportunities for the community."
Pursuit of Quality. "We will govern our city and county with an emphasis on increased efficiency, improved service and stronger interrelationships among public and private organizations."
Compatibility. "We will work to ensure that development is compatible with its surroundings and the community."
Sustainability. "We will strive to ensure the sustainability of our physical environment, both natural and built; the health of our economy; and the efficient and effective functioning of our community."